Lady Parts Justice in The New World Order

Chicago, Illinois | Film Feature

Comedy, Documentary

Ruth Leitman

1 Campaigns | Illinois, United States

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This campaign raised $17,530 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

257 supporters | followers

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Lizz Winstead (co-creator of "The Daily Show") and her merry band of social justice warriors take on wrong-doer politicians and anti-choice fanatics. Please support this film, impact the 2018 midterm elections, and join the smartest, fiercest and funniest reproductive rights activists today.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

I have been making films about under represented women and minorities since I began in the early '90s. This film represents women of color, immigrants and LGBTQ in front of and behind the camera. The film narrative explores intersectional feminism through Lady Parts Justice's advocacy work.

The Story



Lady Parts Justice are defenders of Repro Rights. Inclusive. Hilarious. Intersectional. Fun as Fuck.

Who is Lady Parts Justice?

LPJ is a team of comedians, cultural influencers and technologists who are using humor and outrage to expose the bad and elect the good. This group of fiercely feminist activists seek to stop the rollback of reproductive freedom by creating media that entertains, while educating Americans about abortion rights and the unceasing deluge of laws threatening them. They also offer direct support to abortion providers and patients through clinic visits and service projects.


The Film

The film begins with the election of Donald Trump, and focuses on LPJ’s reaction and strategy to protect reproductive health rights in the polarized political climate that was ushered in on November 8, 2016. We follow LPJ as they prep and participate in the NYC Women’s March, enlisting over 5000 supporters to stand with them to protect the rights of women and people of all genders.


We look back at how the organization began four years ago, taking its name from the politically correct phrase for “Vagina” that former Michigan State Rep Lisa Brown was told to use when arguing against Transvaginal Ultrasound Legislation. (Her male colleagues insisted the word ‘Vagina’ should be replaced by the less obscene ‘Lady Parts.’) Using archival media clips, we move from LPJ’s founding to its present break-back pace to protect women’s reproductive rights and serve the doctors, healthcare providers and volunteers who risk everything for this work.


Our camera follows Winstead making national media appearances, and LPJ’s launch of a video of The Pill as an homage to School House Rock on the day the Gorsuch Supreme Court hearing started. We see intensely personal service missions that LPJ makes to abortion clinics, including the beautiful vérité moment when a staff member in an Mississippi clinic is driven to tears by a visit from an LPJ volunteer to deliver a hug and hamburger. The simple kindness is an unexpected respite from a long day of scared teens and fighting back the angry anti-choice demonstrators at the door.


This film also examines how reproductive rights are framed by the media by delving deep into the personality, actions and plans of Lizz Winstead, one of the greatest political media creators and media critics of our generation. The film will feature verite scenes and clips with longtime friends, colleagues and supporters of Lizz’s brand of activism including members of Congress, television news hosts, and some of the most important politically engaged comedians and musicians of our time.  


As the Right intensifies their unpopular, yet unrelenting attack on abortion rights, Winstead and the team face a sobering question: How does LPJ educate a public who agrees with them and yet does so little to help ensure that women will continue to have reproductive freedom?  


The Answer: Lady Parts Justice is going on the road and we’re going with them!

Lizz and LPJ decide to take their message directly to the people through the USO-esque Vagical Mystery Tour, a 45-day tour that takes the LPJ team directly into hostile territory.  In each town on the tour, LPJ will provide emotional support to the abortion clinic staffers along with handy work to mend a broken fence or a waiting room in need of TLC. The following day, the best and the brightest comedians and musicians put on a show that will not only will raise funds for the clinic, but more importantly, build an army of local volunteers before the LPJ team rolls out of town and onto the next city.


We’ll follow Lizz and LPJ in their brilliantly hilarious, resourceful efforts to fund the tour: from a Silicon Valley tech money fundraising quest, to the lemonade stand pitch video created for their crowd funding campaign.  We’ll experience the roller coaster trajectory that takes them from renting a large tour bus to finding the entire team cramming into a van headed for the deep South.  We’ll be there because we believe in what they do. No other organization is doing the kind of work that LPJ does. They advocate for all of the women, girls and all non-binary people in our lives and making us laugh along the way.


The tour begins in Atlanta GA where director Ruth Leitman grew roots as a filmmaker and activist. It continues through battleground cities in the south and throughout the Midwest. It ends in Louisville, Kentucky, where the Lady Parts Justice team throw themselves into a high stakes fight to save Kentucky’s last remaining abortion clinic.


We’ll be there for workshops that train activists on the frontline across rural America, the altercations with anti-choice protestors and politicians, and LPJ’s efforts that stop at nothing to help turn the conservative tide as we head towards the 2018 election cycle.


Why this film now? 

The urgency of this film could not be greater. Access to birth control and abortion is aggressively being stripped away by a hostile administration on an ideological crusade.


Planned Parenthood provides crucial health services that so many may not get otherwise. But many do not know that Planned Parenthood provides only 30% of all abortion in the U.S.  The remaining 70% of abortions are performed at independently run, underfunded clinics in small towns all over America. They are staffed with doctors and nurses who perform this health service to women at great risk to themselves. With the average age of US doctors being 68, and with great disincentives for new young doctors to become abortion providers due to the astronomical cost of malpractice insurance, these physicians are literally dying out.  The training for these doctors is scarce.  We are facing a tremendous shortage of physicians willing and able to perform safe, legal abortions.


Through the lens of Lady Parts Justice, we delve into the threat of the Trump admistration overturning Roe v. Wade the most critical women’s rights issue, but more importantly the draconian legislation in many states that primarily effect low income and women of color.  These are the laws that sow the seeds if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Highlighting the absurdity of this backwards movement like no one else can, Winstead galvanizes the brightest, most compassionate and hilarious foot soldiers of the last half-century, a group so fierce, they hold nothing back. This is also the story of the rise of intersectional feminism, as it asks the questions of one’s privilege “Who may participate in protest and how?” As LPJ faces an opposition of right wing government and uninformed citizens so belligerent and strange in this modern world, whose aim is to set back the civil rights of women half a century, our narrative becomes a cocktail of the humor and factual horror involved in preserving basic human rights for all women and anyone with a uterus.


Project Status

This film is currently in development with Kartemquin Films. We have already shot nine days to capture essential moments of the story and to create a fundraising demo. We will finish this film on an aggressive schedule so that it can be used to help educate and mobilize people before the 2018 election. The heart of the story will take place on the tour, where we will be able to see Lizz and her team’s passion and compassion directly impact the people they are driven to help. It’s absolutely essential that we are able to join them on this journey, giving us only five weeks to raise the necessary funds for this portion of production.


Project Timeline:


November 2016

Research and development begins.

January- March 2017

Principal Photography begins; nine days filming completed in New York, Illinois, Indiana and Texas.

April–May 2017

Fundrasing, additional filming days, pre-production for the tour.

June 1–July 15 2017  

Lady Parts Justice Vagical Mystery Tour Filmed.

July 2017

Feature Film Rough Cut commences.

November 2017

Principal Photography Complete.

February 2018

Fine Cut Commences with Sound, Color, Graphics work.

April/May 2018

Film Premieres.

May- November 2018

Festival Run, Grassroots Outreach, Special Screenings, House Party Screenings leading up to Election Day November 6th 2018.


Budget and Fundraising

Our team’s fundraising strategy includes grant seeking, crowd funding, grassroots fundraising and individual donors. Due to the urgency of the story and the high profile of Lizz Winstead, we will also approach both equity investors and broadcasters for production funds. Our goal for this Seed & Spark crowd funding campaign is $16,550 to get started immediately, while we are actively trying to raise the rest as we go. Although this number is a fraction of the overall budget, we are determined to make this film. This amount is what we need to get started. You can see some of the totals of the full budget in our wish list section of the campaign.


Films can mobilize and make change. We’ve seen it and we’ve done it. 

Film festivals, premieres and prizes are sexy! And after many years of independent filmmaking, I've luckily had my share of these accolades.  But I also know that films can mobilize people. It’s truly one of the best (if not the best) things I have ever experienced as a filmmaker. We did it with our immigration film Tony & Janina’s American Wedding when we were able to use the film to raise awareness and help reunite a family. Our film won a jury prize at The Chicago International Film Festival and then became an International breaking news story. We will use the skills we learned from that experience along with a strong outreach and engagement plan to use this film to mobilize around protecting women’s reproductive rights. We plan to use this film to turn pro-choice malaise into pro-choice action at the polls. YES WE CAN!


From the Golden Days to the Dark Ages

Ever since Roe v. Wade was passed, reproductive heath rights have been under attack. 

The election of Donald Trump and the policies that he and the conservative right are advancing are an all out war on women's reproductive rights. There is now a perfect storm with Trump’s new found power to elect conservative Supreme Court Justices.  Roe v. Wade has never been more at risk and states have become more emboldened than ever to create and pass anti-choice, anti-birth control legislation. Ohio, Kentucky, Texas and other states are introducing ways to legislate women's uteri at an alarming and increasing frequency, while this story often goes uncovered in the national media.  As media creators themselves, LPJ is doing everything they can to keep this issue front and center, and our film will help deliver their message to a new and larger audience.  


If you’ve read this far, we need you to join us

With this film we will make noise, and become a thorn in the side of the obstructionists of justice. We plan to have the film completed as we head toward the midterm election in 2018. Join us in being part of the resistance. I am so excited to be working with LPJ and Kartemquin Films on this documentary. I started this film with zero funds, but with the urgency to create something we can all use as a tool for protecting women’s rights in this horrific political climate. We’ll travel across America with the most compassionate, whip smart, hilarious change makers you’ll ever meet. 


Please contribute to Seed and Spark’s #100DaysOfDiversity campaign for our film, 

Lady Parts Justice in the New World Order.

Please back this project if you can, with as much as you can financially.

Please share this campaign with your social media networks. 

Please follow the campaign. If we can obtain 500 follows, Seed & Spark will unleash some amazing gifts that will greatly help this production.


Thank You!!!




Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Our amazing nimble crew

Costs $1,800

It costs $1,800 /day to film with our crew. We'll film 8 days before the summer tour and 45 days total. Help us fund all forty-five. $81K

Demo creation editor, color & sound

Costs $7,500

We are cutting a demo with a very talented editor, mixer and colorist so that we can raise money for the rest of production and post.

Camera & Sound Gear Rental

Costs $500

Gear rental costs $500 /day. We'll be filming for 8 days before the tour and 45 days total. Help us fund all gear costs $22,500.

Get us there

Costs $600

Lodging, van rental, etc = $600/day. Total travel costs $27K. Help us film the whole "Vagical Mystery Tour"like a 90's band on the road.


Costs $2,500

We need to make sure that all crew and gear are insured. Please help us make sure all is safe.


Costs $3,000

Our lawyer rocks! She's a feminist, activist & educator in the film business. She'll oversee all agreements for the film's timely release.

Crew Meals

Costs $150

It will cost $150/day to feed our hardworking crew. Total cost for the whole shoot = $6750. Gotta keep 'em fed and hydrated to stay happy.

Graphic Design and Branding

Costs $500

A film with super (s) heroes needs powerful design. Cost $500/day. Help us pay for 30 days of design. Total design costs $15,000.

About This Team



Ruth Leitman-Writer/Director

Ruth Leitman has a BFA in Film and Photography from University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Through her company Ruthless Films, she has directed six feature length documentary films that have received funding from Rockefeller Foundation, Paul Robeson Fund, TriBeCa Film Institute, Fledgling Fund and Illinois Humanities Council. Her films focus on women and those whose lives have faced a lack of opportunity, but who are survivors. 


Leitman's Southern Gothic film Alma (1998) won the Documentary Feature Jury Prize at Hamptons Film Festival, screened at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, South by Southwest, Director’s Guild of America and the Whitney Biennial. Her film Lipstick & Dynamite (2005) premiered at TriBeCa Film Festival and Hot Docs. It won the Documentary Storytelling Prize at Nantucket Film Festival, was released theatrically by Koch Lorber Films and broadcast on SHOWTIME. Lipstick was featured on Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and NPR’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. Leitman wrote Fordson, which has garnered numerous festival awards.  Tony & Janina’s American Wedding (2010) an immigration story, premiered at Chicago International Film Festival winning a Jury Prize. The film won several advocacy awards after it became a clear agent for change, when the film’s subjects were reunited in the US in August 2011.


In the summer of 2009, Leitman’s first documentary Wildwood, NJ. (1994) became a youtube viral hit. With over a millions views, it was featured on several best of year-end lists, hundreds of blogs including: Jezebel, Urban Outfitters, G4’s Attack of the Show, VH-1’s Best Week Ever. The film became a symbol of ‘90’s zeitgeist girl culture. It was appropriated and reused in pop culture media from the fashion runways of Milan to music videos of Lana Del Rey.  Wildwood was invited to screen at Hot Doc’s fifteen-year anniversary festival in 2013. Wildwood was featured in British Film Institute, Sight and Sound Magazine’s- The Female Gaze: 100 Overlooked Films Directed by Women which sparked a tour of the UK over the summer of 2016.


Leitman’s freelance clients include: The Redwalls, Neko Case, Ronald McDonald House, Safe Humane Chicago, American Trial Lawyers Association, Sallie Mae Student Loans, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health and Fair Wisconsin. Early work as a photographer includes: Rolling StoneSPINEsquireWorking MotherNewsweek, Outkast, Black Crowes, REM and Indigo Girls. Her work is a part of the permanent collections at the High Museum of Art and the Georgia Museum of Contemporary Art.


Leitman is a director on the documentary series Hard Earned produced by Kartemquin Films, which aired on Al Jazeera America in 2015. Hard Earned was nomintaed for an International Documentary Association Award and won an Alfred I. Dupont Columbia University Journalism Award in 2016.


She is currently in development on the 1950’s fiction feature film, The Pin-Down Girl, about the pioneers of women’s wrestling.


Leitman is on the faculty at Columbia College Chicago.


Nicole Bernardi-Reis- Producer

Nicole Bernardi-Reis is a producer and director, whose work spans narrative shorts and feature film, documentary features and reality television series.  Her most recent producing project, Radical Grace, is currently screening around the world and was called "Exhilarating...among the year's best films" by She’s taken numerous films and television projects from development to delivery and serves as a consultant for filmmakers as they launch their own films.  She is also the executive director of IFP Chicago, a 30-year-old organization dedicated to developing, supporting and advocating for independent filmmakers in Chicago and across the Midwest. A frequent participant on festival and industry panels, Nicole focuses on supporting independent voices and entrepreneurial empowerment for artists.



Gordon Quinn- Executive Producer

Artistic Director and founding member of Kartemquin Films, Gordon Quinn has been making documentaries for over 50 years. Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun Times, called his first film Home for Life (1966) "an extraordinarily moving documentary." With Home for Life Gordon established the direction he would take for the next four decades, making cinéma vérité films that investigate and critique society by documenting the unfolding lives of real people. 


At Kartemquin, Gordon created a legacy that is an inspiration for young filmmakers and a home where they can make high-quality, social-issue documentaries. Kartemquin’s best known film, Hoop Dreams (1994), executive produced by Gordon, was released theatrically to unprecedented critical acclaim. The film follows two inner-city high school basketball players for five years as they pursue their NBA dreams. Its many honors include: the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Chicago Film Critics Award – Best Picture, Los Angeles Film Critics Association – Best Documentary and an Academy Award Nomination. 


Other films Gordon has made include Vietnam, Long Time Coming, Golub, 5 Girls, Refrigerator Mothers and Stevie.  Gordon executive produced Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita and The New Americans (he also directed the Palestinian segment of this award winning, intimate, seven-hour series). Recently he produced a film that deals with the human consequences genetic medicine, In The Family, and executive produced two films, one about community based conservation in Africa, Milking the Rhino, and At The Death House Door on a wrongful execution in Texas.  In the role of director, he recently completed Prisoner of Her Past, about a Holocaust survivor suffering from late-onset post-traumatic stress disorder, and co-directed the 2011 release A Good Man, about the dancer Bill T. Jones. 


His recent films as executive producer include The Interrupters (2011), The Trials of Muhammad Ali (2013), Life Itself (2014), The Homestretch (2014), On Beauty (2014), Almost There (2014), Saving Mes Aynak (2014), In The Game (2015), and the six-part series Hard Earned (2015).

Gordon is a supporter of public and community media, and has served on the boards of several organizations including The Illinois Humanities Council, Chicago Access Network Television, and The Public Square Advisory Committee, The Illinois Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. A key leader in creating the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use, Gordon encourages filmmakers to educate themselves on the tenets of the fair use doctrine, frequently speaking to the media, legal, and educational communities about this fundamental right.

As well executive producing all our in-progress films, he is currently developing '63 Boycott.

Gordon has won numerous awards throughout his career in Documentary. He was recently honored by the International Documentary Association (IDA) with their 2015 Career Achievement Award, and in 2016 received CIMMfest’s fourth annual BAADASSSSS Award, which honors distinguished careers and lifetime achievement in movies and music. As well as these he has also won the News and Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Programming – Long Form for his work on Independent Lens in 2015, And he won the News and Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Programming – Long Form in 2013 with his work on Frontline.



Betsy Steinberg- Executive Producer

Executive Director Betsy Steinberg joined Kartemquin in December 2015 and oversees daily operations, development, and serves as Executive Producer on Kartemquin projects. Prior to Kartemquin she spent eight years as Managing Director of the Illinois Film Office where she she spearheaded Illinois’ transformation into a world class film destination. She was instrumental in the passage of the Illinois film tax credit and implemented an overall business development strategy resulting in over $1 billion in direct economic impact. During her tenure the state broke all local film industry revenues in 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013 and the Illinois Film Office was recognized by the Illinois Arts Alliance with an Arts Advocate Award and Cinema Chicago's Golden Hugo. She also served on the Governor's Roundtable on the Creative Arts and the boards of Free Spirit Media, Chicago Media Project and the Midwest Independent Film Festival.


Before her work at the film office, Steinberg served as vice president of business development for Towers Productions developing and pitching documentary specials and series for networks such as A&E, History, Discovery and National Geographic. She also supervised, produced and directed documentary specials and series including Emmy nominated Isaac's Storm and The Times Capsule, a coproduction with the New York Times and History Channel. She began her career in Washington, DC working for the late documentarian and political consultant Bob Squier. She holds her bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Cours de Civilisation from the University of Paris, Sorbonne.






Current Team